I hated the prequels. I hated the special edition of ANH so much that I never watched the special editions of ESB or RoTJ.
Han Shot First.
Last fall, I happened to watch The Clone Wars movie and then the TV show. OK, so the first few episodes were a little rough - but I kept finding myself thinking, "This is more Star Wars than the prequels!"
Then, there was even an episode CENTERED AROUND JAR-JAR. Surprisingly, it was actually GOOD. At this point, I was hooked and really impressed. I started watching the little "making of" featurettes included on the disks. It was immediately obvious that Dave Filoni and other folks on the production team are SERIOUS Star Wars fans. (For instance, they discuss the choice of giving Jedi Master Luminara Unduli the wrong lightsaber hilt because they hadn't had time to create the correct model.) They are also clearly very knowledgeable about the Extended Universe, and they do take from it, though they only what fits.
As I watched the series and the featurettes, one name kept coming up over and over again:
Not as a problem, but as a source for ideas and as the maker of creative choices. George Lucas contributed a lot to The Clone Wars, especially to its feel - making it truly feel like Star Wars.
At this point, I have watched all of The Clone Wars except the Season 6 stuff, and I have three conclusions:
One, I really liked this show. Not everything, but most of it.
Two, The Clone Wars is very much Star Wars.
Three, The Clone Wars might not feel so much like Star Wars without George Lucas.
If I had heard this news a year ago, I would have felt like a lot of people - cheering that George Lucas was not at all involved with Episode 7. Heck, I still don't want another "George Lucas Unleashed" movie.
But after watching The Clone Wars? I am worried that without any George Lucas, Episode 7 might not feel ENOUGH like Star Wars.